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Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival 2018

Posted 26 September 2018

Exciting news: the third Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival will be taking place in Falmouth

from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 November 2018. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Shorelines’. It

will feature readings, discussions and workshops with some of the most exciting poets writing today,

from the UK and further afield, including:

Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival

Will be held in Falmouth, from Thursday 22

to Sunday 25 November 2018

Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall

since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and

rich history are continuing sources of inspiration.

About Penelope | Penelope Shuttle
Will You Walk a Little Faster? | Penelope Shuttle

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Inua Elams

Anne-Marie Fyfe

Alyson Hallett

Isaiah Hull

Gerður Kristný

Sean O’Brien

Sandeep Parmar

Penelope Shuttle

As part of this year’s festival, the group is inviting people to

write short poems about places that have a special meaning

for them in Falmouth – it could be a beach, a street, a

building, a street, a shop or anything else. Falmouth Poetry

Group’s president, Penelope Shuttle, one of the UK’s most

celebrated poets, will judge the competition. The winner will

be given free tickets to all festival events in Falmouth and

also invited to read their poem at a special award evening on

November 24, when the winner of the prestigious Cornwall

Contemporary Poetry Prize will also be announced. For more

information, please click here.

Poet and critic John Greening wrote of our last festival:

“If organisers of festivals are looking for a benchmark, then

look no further than Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival,

whose organisation and presentation are second to none.”

The Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival is an initiative

of Falmouth Poetry Group with the support of Falmouth

University, Arts Council England , and The Tanner Trust.

Falmouth Poetry Group was founded in 1972 by the

internationally acclaimed poet Peter Redgrove, and is one of

the oldest poetry groups in the country. It organises regular

readings and workshops by published poets, and meets each

month to read and critique members’ poems.


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by The Manhattan Review

Posted by The Manhattan Review, 16 June 2018

“It’s easy to overlook how effortlessly Shuttle establishes her distinctive voice, which she has learned

to balance on a razor’s edge, so that single syllables like “strange” and “skimped” and “dipped” can

resonate. Sometimes she uses assonance, as she does here, or rhyme, to link ideas, but her acoustic

effects never draw attention to themselves. Yet the sound of the lines is of prime importance to her.

Her main organizing unit, she has said, could not be simpler: “For me it is the way the poem breathes

that gives it form.” - Frank Beck


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by The Times Literary Supplement

Posted by The Times Literary Supplement, 14 July 2018

In Will you Walk a Little Faster? Penelope Shuttle is a flâneuse, strolling the streets of London,

Bristol and Oxford, as alert to city rhythms as she is to their skylines. Her title poem, with its nod to

Lewis Carroll, sees “the brainbox city / huffing and puffing in my ear”, and transforms the traditionally

male city stroller of poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Frank O’Hara into a darting woman: “Like

Fair Rosamund / I quickstep down Rose Place”, “like swift Alice / I skip across St Aldate’s”. The speaker,

however, is “not hurrying off” to visit museums or churches; rather, she is “heading straight for the

heart” of the city.

Placed early on in the collection, the poem paves the way for Shuttle’s other explorations of urban life.

In “Walking the Walbrook”, the lines of the poem step out like footsteps, and Shuttle plays with this

idea by… - Poetry in brief by Suzannah V. Evans


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by The Poetry Society

Posted by The Poetry Society, 30 March 2018

“My life, I can’t fool you, / you know me too well” begins the speaker in the opening poem of Penelope

Shuttle’s latest collection, a book that takes its title from the entreaty at the heart of contemporary life.

And if the world around us seems always to be saying “hurry up”, then this book exhorts its readers to

slow down from time to time as well. So we have poems like ‘My Life’, quoted above, in which the

speaker is in conversation with their own life which has become a person with a deep insight into

the speaker’s personality - The Poetry Society


For me, it begins with a grandfather consciousness of Russia

and a difficulty of surnames,

smiles in a local kitchen from my alien gold neighbours

and the gladness of their horses

For me, it begins in the dark regions

of vodka and childhood

where the staircase birds share the flight of the child

and a windowsill mother counts

a thousand years

on her exact tongue of black-blood grief

Or it begins, for me, with a master-sleep

with the dog who understands the breast that wears black,

and the hour when a strange

but better than usual guest

comes to call

For me it begins when I step aside

from my own concerns and the dead look at me,

quiet as thimbles,

they look at me from the hushing handheld sky,

its subdued palaces,

the doors all blue and in the wrong places

For me, it begins there

Penelope Shuttle

‘Gardens where there’s no need for a garden’ by Penelope Shuttle

This poem was published in the Winter 2017 Issue of The Poetry Review, Vol 107, No.4


‘Behind the poem’ article on ‘Gardens where there’s no need for a garden’

Posted by The Poetry Society, 13 January 2018

Penelope Shuttle: language as a gleaming shield

I like words and images. A poem often starts when I put myself in the place of language, and wait.

I do this without strategic thinking.

Here, the title of my poem arrived first, from the place of language, presenting me with possibilities

that led to the initial draft of the piece. The refrain of “beginning” is a trajectory of feeling my way into

the implications of the title. Those implications turned out to focus on death and loss. June is a difficult

month for me because my husband Peter Redgrove died in June 2003. That sense of grief was an

underlying factor where a death atmosphere began to impinge – first like this, then like that, and that,

and that. The mystery of the Russian past. Alien sensations of pain, of joy. The photograph of the mother

on the windowsill. The dog with his greater-than-our-human senses. (And the dog is a real dog, not a

psycho-pomp.) The “strange / but better than usual guest” who brings news of death. These colours,

these gestures, these presences.

The poem is also ‘about’ not needing to understand or strip down every image that rises from our

unconscious mind into consciousness via language, but of offering those images our closest attention,

a fidelity of the spirit, letting the poem speak and make its way through the many layers of resistance

and laziness that make up the everyday mind – well, mine, anyhow.

Perhaps a poem is a spell spelt out to test how much reality we can bear. Not much, as we know.

Language offers itself as a gleaming shield against the overwhelms and the anguish. Death and loss are

hard to bear. Our dead look at us when we’re not expecting that look, we’re never prepared, and that

look feels like a disconnect and a connection. All these things are bewildering and not simple. The

poem recounts them to the poet in us and through its alchemical mingling of truth and lie, mystery

and illumination, makes our anguish into a story, a song. Among the mad noise of the world, it offers

its still small voice, as some kind of compensation for things too awful for anyone to think about for

too long. And in this poem maybe thinking is a false friend, compared to feeling, intuition, and falling

awake in language. - Penelope Shuttle


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by The Observer

Posted by The Observer, 15 August 2017

“Penelope Shuttle need not walk any faster – as this, her 14th collection, demonstrates. It is the gentle

pace that captivates in her poems. And what a phenomenal poet she is (she has recently celebrated her

70th birthday). She has an unbossy, contemplative, unmistakable voice. She leads you quietly and helps

you see things – London especially – afresh. There is nothing stale about the way she writes, although

she is thinking about what it means to be older. She reflects on the city, its present moment and history

– its bones. The past is there, almost palpable, and the dead, too – only just beyond touch and sight. She

salutes London while resisting its metropolitan speed. Once part of a celebrated working duo with her

late husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, his absence is strong enough to be a presence here. This is a

volume that combines sorrow with an oddball wryness – an unusual mix. Shuttle implausibly casts

herself as a relic, and in a comically sympathetic poem set in Waitrose, Balham, measures her time

against the nonstop pace of the supermarket.”  - Kate Kellaway


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by The Manchester Review

Posted  by The Manchester Review, 15 August 2017

“The eponymous title poem of Penelope Shuttle’s latest collection, Will you walk a little faster?, Keen

‘Alice’ fans will know, is a line from ‘The Mock Turtle Song’ in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland.

The minimalist simplicity of Shuttle’s form here, is not a homage to ‘The Mock Turtle’, which is mostly

rhyming couplets, but shares a style of a slightly bewildered and bewildering, child-like, nonsensical

voice, ‘looking’ askance at the world. Shuttle equates her mature poet’s view (this collection is published

to celebrate her 70th birthday) with the small girl’s vision, as the poet, also through peripatetic wandering,

walks the cityscapes of London and Bristol, and considers what lies beneath through the ‘rabbit-holes’

of her own vision.”  -  Ken Evans


Will You Walk a Little Faster? review by London Grip Poetry

Posted by London Grip Poetry, 15 June 2017

“This is a richly various volume, one which will delight her many admirers, and deserves to make new

converts of those previously unfamiliar with the world (or worlds) that Penelope Shuttle opens up to

us. She has elsewhere spoken of the well-kept secret that poetry can be fun, and her poems do indeed

convey a sense of fun, broaching as they do serious themes without relinquishing a lively gift of wild

and often sardonic humour.” -  Roger Caldwell

#london_grip_poetry News - Page 2 | Penelope Shuttle #